doc Emergency Contraception Pill User Guide


Fact Sheet: Emergency Contraception Pill (EC Pill)

How Does EC Work?

Most EC pills (Plan B One-Step®, Next Choice®) contain a hormone like the ones your body makes. ella® is an EC pill that mimics and blocks a hormone. EC pills stop your ovaries from releasing eggs. Without an egg, you cannot get pregnant.

No method of birth control is 100% effective. EC pills lower the risk of pregnancy by 58-94%.

 If you take ella® within 5 days of having sex, it is 94% effective. Other EC pills are less effective.

You can take EC pills up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Progestin EC pills work best the sooner you take them, but ella® works just as well 4-5 days after sex as it does right after sex.

EC pills don’t work as well for women at higher weights. Progestin EC may not work at all if your body mass index (BMI) is over 26. ella® may not work well if your BMI is over 35.

You can’t use EC pills to end a pregnancy.

How Do I Use EC Pills?

Take EC as soon as you can after unprotected sex. If your package has 2 pills, take both pills at the same time.

How Do EC Pills Help Me?

 EC is safe. EC pills do not work as well as a regular birth control method, but EC lowers your chance of getting pregnant after unprotected sex.

How Will I Feel After Taking EC Pills?

 You will most likely feel fine. EC has no long-term or severe side effects.

You may have nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, breast pain, or belly pain for 1-2 days after taking the pills. To prevent nausea, you can take anti-nausea medicine (such as meclizine) one hour before you take EC.

Your next period may come a few days early or a few days late. You may have spotting.

Do EC Pills Have Risks?

EC pills are very safe. There are no known risks.

Pregnant women should not take EC pills.

Where Can I Get EC Pills?

Available at pharmacies, health centers or health care providers. Call ahead to see if they have it.

Women and men of any age can get some brands without a prescription.

Some brands are only available to women under age 17 with a prescription.

 Women of all ages can only get ella® with a prescription.

You should always have EC on hand in case you need it. Ask for refills on your prescription.

To get EC, ask your health care provider, or visit

**Remember, Emergency Contraception does not protect you from Sexually Transmitted Infections

or HIV. Always use condoms to protect yourself! **

July 2015 /